SPIRITUAL RESOURCES IN FAMILY THERAPY (2nd ed.) by ProQuest

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wounded bodies screams for justice or even            mental health care, after being ignored or avoid-
revenge (126)?”                                       ed for decades by many secular practitioners. In
   For Volf, “The generous release of a genuine       Spiritual Resources in Family Therapy (2nd ed.),
debt is the heart of forgiveness (130).” As with      Froma Walsh (Ed.) has assembled a broad collec-
giving, Volf finds Christian forgiveness involves a   tion of essays that provide both theoretical and
triangle: God, the wrongdoer, and the wronged         practical considerations on how to work with the
person. Here and elsewhere in the discussion,         spiritual dimension in couples and families.
JPC readers will discern a divergence from com-       Although the book has a multi-faith perspective,
mon psychological conceptions of forgiveness as       the focus is on spirituality in general, which
an intrapersonal event. For Volf, forgiveness         Walsh defines as “a dimension of human experi-
includes giving the gift of forgiveness to the        ence involving personal transcendent beliefs and
wrongdoer, which psychological models would           practices, within or outside formal religion,
commonly consider an act of reconciliation. Sim-      through family and cultural heritage, and in con-
ilar to other formulations of the forgiveness pro-    nection with nature and humanity” (p. 5).
cess, the manner in which Volf describes                 The book is divided into three parts, contain-
forgiveness indicates his appreciation of the         ing a total of twenty chapters. Part I provides an
importance of affirming the wrongdoing, recog-        overview of the topic. Chapter one begins by
nizing the justice gap, and taking another’s per-     examining the diversity, yet importance of spiri-
spective. However, Volf does not distinguish          tual beliefs and practices in North America, while
between forgiveness and reconciliation as rigidly     also providing an introduction to spirituality in
distinct concepts when he notes the importance        families, including how it changes across the
of expressed forgiveness within a community.          family life cycle. The next chapter presents an
God’s love is freely given and freely expressed.      introductory discussion about integrating spiritu-
As a god-inspired gift, believers express forgive-    ality in family therapy, concentrating on how to
ness to enhance community relations. Giving for-      address spiritual sources of distress, while utiliz-
giveness promotes reconciliation. Volf                ing spiritual resources in treatment.
contextualizes giving and forgiving within a             Part II details how spirituality can increase
community.                                            resiliency in families by helping them overcome
   Readers of JPC will find Volf’s perspective on     difficulties and by strengthening interpersonal
giving and forgiving refreshing. For me, he           connections. This section includes a chapter on
achieved his purpose of relating giving and for-      the relationship between spirituality, suffering,
giving to the character of God and showing their      and beliefs in families experiencing major health
importance to community. This brief and orderly       problems as well as a chapter on how spiritual
volume makes it suitable for an added reader in       resources can help families deal with the loss of
a college course or a small group book study.         loves ones. An interesting chapter, by Steven J.
Although at times his metaphysical rationales for     Wolin and colleagues, describes how Buddhism,
a particular premise (e.g., interactions among        Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam per-
members of the trinity) do not subserve any man-      ceive and encourage resiliency, which is useful
ifest purpose, Volf cap
								
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